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SMSC in Geography

Geography is thoroughly focussed on people and their relationships and as such we are well placed to contribute to students’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural education. In every lesson across the subject, students are expected either to consider the needs and experiences of others, or their own personal responses to events, problems and changes. Students are encouraged to discuss and debate controversy outside the classroom. At times this is in a formal setting like educational visits or classroom debates, but also we expect the study of Geography to affect positively the way students live their daily lives. We encourage young people to enquire, consider and question in lessons and beyond.

Spiritual Development

In Geography, we encourage spiritual development through providing opportunities for students to reflect upon the landscapes and environments we study within lessons.

We encourage geographers to be curious about the world in which we live and to ask questions about future events. Recently in Year 9, students have been looking at the recent outbreak of tornadoes in the southern United States and discussed how it affects the world in which we live. GCSE students questioned the likelihood of impacts such as global temperature change and how we would have to adapt our lives to survive, especially as our demand for resources is ever growing and changing.

A sense of the scale of different locations is constantly referred to in Geography lessons but also when on site during fieldwork. Year 11 students recently visited Walton-on-the-Naze to assess the impact of coastal erosion on this area of coastline. Students were impressed with and engaged by the beauty of the physical and human environment in this area of outstanding natural beauty.  

Moral Development

Moral questions in Geography help to form a key part of Geographical Issues that are present within the world today. Population is a key area of discussion for Geography. GCSE students investigate into the current theories being proposed in order to manage and control global population levels, as this may have a significant impact on resources in the near future. GCSE Geography students study China’s attempts to reduce their population growth through the use of the one child policy. Students discuss the successes of this, but also question whether it is morally correct and how they would feel if they were forced to live under its rules.

Understanding the consequences of our actions is extremely important in Geography. Global warming is an issue we are being forced to recognise now with our changing atmosphere. Both Key Stage 3 and GCSE geographers study the reasons as to how humans have contributed to the issues and problems surrounding global warming. We study the human impacts and causes of this, and analyse the repercussions of this for future predictions. Key stage 3 geographers discuss deforestation in Brazil, whilst Year 10 geographers discuss how are polar regions may be affected by this.

In Geography we see it as important that students understand the issues faced by people in different parts of the world and develop an opinion towards them. Year 11 have recently looked at how the people in the periphery of Brazil will be affected by the construction of Hydro-electric power dams. They have debated the conflicts and benefits of these projects and understood how this will impact the economy, social and health aspects of northern Brazil.

Social Development

Social issues and the needs of different groups of people are also common themes that are explicitly recognised on a regular basis such as the need to create a sustainable society. In year 10, students research how our living spaces in urban areas need to be sustainable in the future to cope with population changes in these areas.

The year 9 geography curriculum focusing on investigating a wide variety of natural disasters around the world. Students work in teams throughout each unit to come up with a creative overall presentation of what they have learned throughout their research. Students really are able to take on a creative and unique role of their team. The student groups have presented their research in a variety of creative and communicable ways, such as a 6 o’clock news report for the BBC and a National Geographic talk show on Earthquakes. 

Understanding how our communities and societies function is important in Geography. Our year 11s completed their controlled assessment focus this year on how tourism pressures impact rural communities. They spent three days in the countryside speaking to the local community, completing surveys, communicating with the locals and analysing how people and the natural environment will cope with these pressures. Working with members of the general public required the Year 11 geography pupils to be polite, courteous and they were without exception well received and complimented.  

Cultural Development

Understanding different cultures is a key part of Geography at GCSE. In GCSE Geography, students explore the concept of migration. Lessons are spent discovering why people migrate and why this is necessary for refugees. The topics help to give students a greater awareness of such a current issue. Students also look into why various cultures of polar and arid environments are necessary for conservation, and how these cultures play an important role in today’s society.

In Year 11, students take part in a trading game when studying development. This lets them take on the role of different countries and experience what it is like to have lots of resources, but little technology. This helps students to understand the issues faced by countries in developing parts of the world.

Year 9 students look into how various cultures, both developed and undeveloped, cope with the strain of natural disasters. We look at case studies in Japan, Southern Asia, and South America, to identify how and why various cultures are prepared for these disasters. We also investigate into why and how developed countries can contribute to the education of natural disasters for underdeveloped countries.

Year 7 study the topic of settlements in the summer term. We look into why settlement sites were chosen by aboriginal people in Asia, and how these differ from some of the settlement sites we are familiar with in Northern Europe.

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